Religious Hostilities Heighten Worldwide

By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

WASHINGTON D.C. (Worthy News)– For three-fourths of the world’s population, practicing one’s religion is becoming more difficult due to government restrictions and public hostilities, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

“Among the world’s 25 most populous countries — which account for about 75 percent of the world’s population — restriction on religions substantially increased in eight countries and did not substantially decrease in any,” according to the Forum.

The Forum found a 32 percent increase in restrictions and hostilities from 2006-09 in all 198 of the world’s nations with a 12 percent increase in only restrictions in 23 nations.

Worldwide, only 1 percent of the world’s population live where hostilities had decreased.

Although many governments have religious freedoms in their constitutions, not all provide for these protections: “religious liberty language” can be found in the constitutions of all 198 countries and in the laws of 143 countries, but more than half of these same countries carry contradictions in their own constitutions and laws.

The Forum study noted that even in countries with religious freedom laws, “not all governments fully respect the religious rights written into their laws”.

For example, in Nigeria, there are three levels of persecution: street, state and sect, according to Emmanuel Ogebe, a Nigerian human rights lawyer.

At the street level, Ogebe said Muslims in northern Nigeria are taught that Christians are infidels, while at the state level, most Christians can’t get a job, and if they do, they can’t be promoted.

Sect violence comes mostly from the Islamist sect known as Boko Haram, which calls for all Christians to leave Nigeria, or else.

As a result of all three levels of persecution, “social hostilities” — which includes anyone who reacts to a religion or its adherents with violence, harassment and abuse — in Nigeria had risen significantly compared to previous Pew studies. For example, during November 2008, at least 300 people were killed and hundreds injured during three days of religious rioting in the Nigerian city of Jos.

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